The jokes about the holiday season being “upon us”, complete with all its stresses, people, travel and catastrophes are funny because they’re true.
And “choose your attitude” is just as true.
As adults, we have uncovered new joys in Santa, Christmas carols and cocoa (note: the “joy” in cocoa may be schnapps). We have an annual bicycling event – the Santa Cycle Rampage—that our group of friends uses to reunite and spread holiday cheer. Costumes are essential. Thousands of cyclists descend on the city dressed as Santa, Mrs. Claus, young Santas, elves, Jesus Christ himself, Christmas trees, reindeer and much more.
People rig their bikes with sound systems, lights, bells and wrapping.
Bars welcome us.
And the “Hey, Santa!” joke never gets old.
We have done the event for years and recently have settled on a Flight School Santa and his USO girl costume.
We’ve been young professional Santas.
We’ve been simply dressed in striped socks, ugly sweaters and holiday cheer.
But we go. We brave the elements, we pedal all day, and we encounter other groups just like ours all over town. We all say to each other “Only in Milwaukee” but I’d argue instead that this could happen anywhere, it’s more important to say “only with a great attitude.”
My workplace holiday party is far from formal dresses and gala-like eats at some downtown ballroom. Instead, a healthy competition between departments and “neighborhoods” in our building encourages creativity, spirit and shenanigans. From Reindeer Flight School: A Top Gun/North Pole Mash-up last year to this year’s Alice in Winter Wonderland, our team has gone all out to costume and party plan. Judges (also known as bosses and their spouses) engage each theme, skit and food buffet and offer awards in ridiculous and spur-of-the moment categories.
They love the costumes, the secret planning, the big reveal.
We all do and that’s because we all should. An attitude that embraces the relaxed nature of the holidays, that recognizes for some people it’s their only vacation time all year, and that stores, streets, neighbors are all ready to smile, say hello, or offer joy is the right one.
You get one big collective moment like this every year. It’s not about whether you call the moment “Christmas” or “holidays.” It’s about whether you’ll put out a stocking for St. Nick or work hard for the perfect treat to insert into a Krampus shoe. It’s about complimenting the ugly sweater, welcoming snowflakes, airing Festivus grievances and proudly rotating holiday socks.
We all look good in red. And sparkle isn’t reserved for beauty queens.
Go get your holiday on. We need it more now than ever. Host a cocktail hour, drink champagne for no reason. Sing the Alvin and the Chipmunks song at the top of your lungs on the way to work. Now is the time.
Feminist, activist, outdoor advocate, animal lover, chocolate shake lover, reader, watcher, talker, actor, speaker, worker, writer, urban adventurer, hustler, involved, passionate, excited, ready.